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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 August 2005, 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK
Matalan upbeat despite sales fall
Matalan store
Matalan has been cutting costs
Cut-price clothing retailer Matalan has said it is in "good shape" despite a slide in sales.

Same-store sales fell 6.4% in the six months to 27 August, but it managed to slow the decline to just 3.4% in the last eight weeks of the period.

The Lancashire-based firm added that margins had improved to 1.2% from 0.2% in the same period last year.

The group has been restructuring its business under plans to save 15m a year, a move which led to 300 job cuts.


"The measures undertaken earlier this year have enabled us to keep the business in good shape during a difficult six months in UK retail," said chief executive John King said in a statement.

He added that the business was now more streamlined, with less excess stock and improved cash flows.

Matalan sign outside one of the company's stores

As part of the revamp, Matalan opened a new warehouse in Northamptonshire - a move which helped it improve its distribution network.

The group has also begun to refit its stores to lift sales by luring in more customers and encouraging people to spend more with 18 refurbishments carried out in the first half and 17 planned for the coming six month period.

High Street stores have suffered recently as shoppers curbed their spending after months of rate rises.

Discount chains have managed to weather the problem better than most, but are still facing tough competition.

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